"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Coptic Iconography

As I have noted before, books on Byzantine iconography continue to pour forth from all manner of presses, but works on Coptic iconography lag very considerably behind. A forthcoming work may help to remedy, at least a little, this lacuna: Nadia Tomoum, Coptic Art Revealed (American University of Cairo Press, 2012), 240pp.

About this book the publisher tells us:
This superbly illustrated volume sheds light on the splendid artifacts produced during the Coptic era and celebrates the Copts' remarkable contribution to Egypt's rich cultural heritage, presenting rediscovered treasures from the Coptic Museum's storerooms, precious items from its permanent display, and pieces from other museum collections in Egypt. The featured artifacts include colorful icons painted by renowned artists, beautiful textiles, illuminated manuscripts, pages from the famous Nag Hammadi library, stone and wooden friezes with intricate designs, and fascinating objects that were at one time in daily use.
I look forward to seeing this expertly reviewed, later this year or early in 2013, in Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies. 


  1. Have you ever seen the books about icons by Mahmoud Zibawi? He is a Lebanese Muslim with a very deep love for Orthodox Christianity who specializes in the history of icons. One of his several books in French is an illustrated volume on Coptic iconography entitled "Images de l'Egypte chrétienne: Iconologie Copte", published by Editions A & J Picard in 2003. Two of his books have been translated into English under the titles "Eastern Christian Worlds" (Liturgical Press, 1995) and "The Icon: Its Meaning and History" (Liturgical Press, 1993).

  2. Our Mission rented a building from a Coptic Church for over a year and I loved the iconography. (The people were amazing and gracious folks.) Ethiopian iconography is beautiful too. I saw some 700+ year old Ethiopian icons at a "sacred art" display at an art museum. Stunning.


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